Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Friday met with European Commission
President Jean-Claude Junker in Brussels. They discussed the latest
developments around Brexit, the EU’s long-term budget priorities, such as
the rules governing subsidies from the EUs structural funds and proposed
changes in agricultural subsidies.
The Czech prime minister also unveiled a plan to build a village for 150 orphans in Syria including housing facilities, canteens, kindergartens and schools and gradually help them find surviving members of their extended families. He said he had already discussed the plan with the Czech ambassador to Syria Eva Filipi. The Czech Republic has come under fire for refusing to take in migrants, including orphaned children. The Czech head of government also met for talks with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
The visiting Hungarian Foreign Minister Petér Szijjarto on Friday thanked
the Czech Republic for coming out in Hungary’s defence in its controversy
with the European Parliament over the country’s internal developments.
The European Parliament in September voted to launch a procedure against Hungary over its alleged breach of core EU values, an unprecedented move against any EU member state. The Czech Republic criticized the decision as unfortunate, arguing that dialogue would have been a better option.
During their talks in Prague foreign ministers Petér Szijjarto and Tomáš Petříček also highlighted the importance of Visegrad Group cooperation, saying it was the most effective and close-knit alliance within the EU, giving its members more clout in defending their interests.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said that the Czech Republic wanted to introduce new topics when it takes up the Visegrad Group presidency in mid-2019, among others, security matters.
Investigators looking into the claims of Babiš Jr. that he had been
abducted to Crimea so that he could not testify in the case against his
father say that they have been trying to contact him without success at his
home in Switzerland.
Babiš Jr. sent an email to the journalists at Seznam.cz saying that he wanted to cooperate with the police in the investigation of his alleged abduction to Crimea and asked for this to be arranged by phone.
He also slammed his father for saying that due to the fact that he suffered from schizophrenia he was not able to testify and had to be under constant supervision, saying that this was a lie.
President Miloš Zeman said in an interview for commercial TV Barrandov on
Thursday night, that if Andrej Babiš’s government were to loose support
in a no-confidence vote due to be held in the lower house next week, he
would once again ask Mr. Babiš to form the next government.
He also noted that this cabinet could continue to function in demise for an unspecified period of time, by which time emotions would surely subside.
The president’s words elicited sharp criticism from opposition parties, who said such a move would be a blatant show of disrespect for the country’s Parliament.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who has come under pressure to resign over
his sons allegations that he had been forcibly detained in Crimea to
prevent him testifying in the Storks Nest affair in which his father faces
charges of EU fraud, has said he will never step down of his own accord.
At a press briefing in Prague on Friday, the prime minister said the affair was an orchestrated slander campaign intended to drive him out of politics. He blamed the country’s public media for allegedly “spearheading the campaign“ and asked that they let investigators and the judiciary do their job.
The embattled prime minister also thanked President Zeman and Senator Jiří Čunek for standing up for him at this difficult hour.
English singer-songwriter Sting is set to perform at Prague’s Forum
Karlín on Friday evening. The former frontman of the rock band Police,
along with Jamaican rapper Shaggy, will present their recently released
The concert in Prague is part of their eastern European tour, which will also make a stop in Poland’s Lodz and Gdansk.
Several thousand people gathered on Wenceslas Square in the centre Prague
on Thursday evening to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš, following the latest developments in the Stork’s Nest affair, in
which he faces charges of EU subsidy fraud.
Earlier this week, the prime minister’s son Andrej Babiš Jr., who lives in Switzerland, told investigative reporters that he had been forcibly detained in Crimea by his father’s associates during the time of the investigation so that he would not be called as a witness.
Among those attending the event was TOP 09 chairman Jiří Pospíšil, Senator Václav Hampl of the Christian Democratic Party and former agriculture minister Marian Jurečka.
British police have rescued 10 potential victims of modern slavery,
including six people from the Czech Republic, during a raid in Manchester
The crackdown was part of a joint investigation with Czech police and saw three men arrested, Czech police informed on its website on Thursday. Two of the Czechs have already returned to their home country.
The potential victims had been forced to work up to ten hours a day at a car wash under threats of violence or punishments.